People struggle with distraction because they assign the power to distract to things outside their control: email, TV, kids, phone calls, Instagram, whatever.
Things . . . distract . . . us. That’s the prevailing belief, at least, and one we need to correct if we’re going to win the battle against distraction. Overcoming distraction begins with understanding where distraction comes from. And it’s not from things outside of us.
I shared a version of this on X (Twitter) yesterday, but many of you don’t see the content I post there. This was too good not to share with you, too.
Distraction comes from inside of us, not outside of us. There is a constant stream of external events swirling around us. Those are not distractions. That’s just stuff in the world.
Some of it is incredibly important to you. Most of it is not. It’s different for everyone. The same external event can be essential to your mission and irrelevant to someone else.
Distraction is when we feel a desire to give our attention to something off-mission, whether it’s an external or internal thing. The critical distinction here is that the source of the distraction is not external events but our desire to engage with them.
External events are not the distraction. Our mind is the distraction. If there is no desire to give attention, there is no distraction, even though the events are still there.
External events never go away. They’ll always surround us. But where we direct our attention and what we give attention to is up to us. We can’t control external events, and sometimes we can’t change them. We can always control what we give attention to and what we don’t.
The only truly effective way to deal with distraction is by addressing and removing our desire to give attention to things that don't support our mission, our purpose, our progress, and our values.
The time is now. Do the work.
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Brian Kight is a multi-industry leader on the topics of leadership, culture, and behavior. He provides simple systems that produce exceptional results for organizations, teams, and people.